Essay on The Use of Dialect in the Jumping Frog of Calavares County

1053 Words Mar 2nd, 2005 5 Pages
Use of Customs, Dialect and Social Status
In "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County"

Mark Twain's "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" is a short story with the lesson that what goes around comes around. In this short story, which first appeared in 1856 and his first successful story, Twain uses local customs of the time, dialect, and examples of social status in his story to create a realistic view of the region in which the story takes place. The way that the characters behave is very distinctive. Dialect is also used to give the reader a convincing impression of the setting in "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County". The social status of the main characters in this story also was something that
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Twain uses local dialect throughout the story. Dialect enhances the story by painting a picture of the surroundings, giving a deeper understanding of the characters and adding local color. The following quotes show Twain's main purpose is using dialect, which is to emphasize the rural feel of the story's setting. On page 1189 the narrator says "He was always ready and laying for a chance; there couldn't be no solit'ry thing mentioned but that feller'd offer to bet on it, and take ary side you please, as I was just telling you." On page 1190 the narrator says, "Other dogs jest by the j'int of his hind leg and freeze to it—not chaw…." Smiley uses some interesting and somewhat peculiar phrases at the end of the story:
Smiley he stood scratching his head and looking down at Dan'l a long time, and at last he says, ‘I do wonder what in the nation that frog throw'd off for—I wonder if there ain't something the matter with him—he ‘pears to look mighty baggy, somehow.' And he ketched Dan'l by his neck, and hefted him, and says, "Why blame my cats if he don't weigh five pound!"(1192)
On page 1190 Simon says, "Well, this-yer had rat-tarriers, and chicken cocks, and tomcats and all them…." The use of slang like "solit'ry", "feller'd", and "ary" are manners of speech that rural people
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